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Thursday, February 16, 2006                                                                                       View Comments

Pastor blames demons, not mental illness

Defense accuses him, husband of downplaying Plano mom's behavior

MCKINNEY TX - The pastor of a charismatic Christian church attended by the Plano mother on trial, accused of fatally cutting off the arms of her 10-month-old daughter, told jurors Wednesday that mental illness is really demon possession that cannot be cured with psychiatry or medicine.

"I do not believe that any mental illness exists other than demons, and no medication can straighten it out, other than the power of God," said Doyle Davidson, the 73-year-old minister of the Water of Life Church that Dena and John Schlosser attended several times a week.

Dena Schlosser, 37, is on trial for capital murder in the slaying of her daughter Margaret in November 2004.

She has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.

Schlosser was arrested after police, responding to a 911 call, found her in the living room of her apartment, blood smeared on her face and clothes, a Christian hymn playing and a Bible open near the crib where the child was killed.

Defense lawyers have faulted her husband and Davidson for downplaying her strange behavior and cutting short treatment of a psychotic condition that began after the birth of her third child in January 2004.

John Schlosser testified Tuesday that he did not seek medical help when his wife told him she wanted to "give the baby to God" about a week before their daughter's death.

Davidson said he hardly knew the family, although John Schlosser testified earlier that he and his wife talked with Davidson days before the attack and that the pastor was the first person he called after it.

"I talked with him maybe three times, I don't remember what about," Davidson said.

Davidson also testified that he has cast demons out of parishioners and seen evil spirits, including one that was 6 feet tall with a long tail. The former veterinarian, who has no formal religious training, has a cable TV show in the Dallas area and several states.

The Rev. Kathryn Self, another defense witness, called the beliefs of Davidson's church outside mainstream Christianity.

In the week leading up to the slaying, Dena Schlosser had expressed concern that Davidson was being persecuted by police regarding an incident in September 2004 in which he was arrested and accused of public intoxication, her husband testified Tuesday.

A police report states the pastor was in the home of another married member of his congregation, sitting on top of her and trying to choke out evil spirits.

Davidson told jurors that God had pledged the woman to him and that demons were keeping them apart, but he denied he was drunk or was trying to choke her.

Also Wednesday, three Plano police officers testified that Schlosser repeatedly chanted, "Thank you Jesus, thank you Lord" in the hours after her arrest. Plano police officer Sean White said the chant varied from soft to loud, and once Schlosser seemed to turn purple and pass out. Another officer testified he heard her making guttural, growling sounds as she waited to be treated for an apparently self-inflicted knife wound to her shoulder.